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Monticello High School's internship program creates "life-ready" students

June 7, 2016

Internship – it’s often a word associated with summer breaks in between college semesters, but in Monticello Central School District (MCSD), it’s just another example of how Monticello students graduate as “life-ready” citizens. While many people may envision internship duties as fetching coffee and filing papers, students in the high school’s internship program are developing meaningful job skills that align with their career goals.

Students interested in interning go through a process mimicking a job hunt in the “real world.” They must prepare a cover letter and resume and interview for the position. Not every student who interviews is offered an internship and students must maintain GPA and conduct standards to be eligible.

“Conduct and behavior impact opportunities in the real world and it’s no different here,” Principal Stephen Wilder said. “I encourage the students who may not have been accepted the first round to try again; it’s a cyclical program so it’s not a missed opportunity. Quite often, the students self-correct their behavior and we take notice of that.”

Students who are accepted into the program are then board-appointed to their positions. The internees are paid for their work. They often bring in a fresh perspective, and Principal Wilder has found their input to be invaluable in creating solutions throughout the school. During the last intern cycle, some interns researched codes of conduct in Sullivan County and throughout the state. They reviewed the information, and made suggestions on how to improve the school’s student handbook.

“Giving students a seat at the table and responsibility is a powerful learning experience,” Principal Wilder said. “”It’s about knowing your own value and helping whatever organization you’re working for increase their value through your effort.”

Monticello High School junior Andre Frontis plans on working in law enforcement, just like many members of his extended family.Andre Frontis Monticello High School's security intern poses He has been interning with MCSD’s security team since July 2015, where he assists the team with exterior and interior patrols and checking visitors in to the school.

“A lot of students don’t realize how much the security team does here to keep people safe,” Andre said. “It’s definitely been an eye-opener.”

He’s currently enrolled in BOCES’ public safety program and expects to earn a NYS security certification by the time he graduates. After graduation, he plans on attending Orange County Community College and John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“The experience that I’ve gained in the internship, combined with what I’ve learned in the public safety program has been insightful,” Andre said. “If you want to go into this field, they want you to have your certification. I think having that certification, along with the experience that I’ve gained through my internship will help me stand out as a good security candidate in the future.”